Amazon just destroyed Lord of the Rings and I’m fine with it.
If there is a definitive reason for genre fans to maintain their Amazon Prime subscriptions (besides the free 2-day shipping), it’s the company’s long-gestating untitled Lord of the Rings television series. The New Zealand-based production successfully endured a lengthy pandemic-era hiatus to complete its pilot this past fall, and continues work on subsequent episodes. Yet, the recent exit of cast member Tom Budge seems to signal that the purportedly billion-budgeted series is facing creative difficulties.
Budge (Bloom, Judy & Punch) revealed his departure from the ensemble of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series with an Instagram announcement, which was complemented by a thematically-appropriate vintage Johnny Cash performance of “Ring of Fire.” However, the circumstances over his exit were not exactly pun-worthy.
“After recently seeing the first episodes shot over the last year, Amazon has decided to go in another direction with the character I was portraying,” explained Budge, who thanked the creative team for their “encouragement towards trying something that I believed was new, exciting, and beautiful.”
Yet, beneath the thin veneer of a friendly professional parting lies apparent frustration, a phenomenon that is far from unique when it comes to this production.